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Rhee Lists 6 Firms Eyed To Help Run 10 Campuses

"This is something we wanted," said Terry Goings, chairman of the restructuring team at Coolidge. (By Robert A. Reeder For The Washington Post)
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"This is something we wanted," said Terry Goings, chairman of the local school restructuring team at Coolidge High School in Northwest, the group of parents and teachers who advise the principal. He said the group, Parents at Coolidge, recommended Bedford Academy to Rhee, who visited the school.

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Bedford Academy "brings a different vision and mission," he said. "They're coming in with organization skills that weren't going on at Coolidge."

Talent Development, based at Johns Hopkins University, is the largest of the six companies. It manages 100 high schools in 15 states. The company charges school districts about $250 to $350 per student, said spokeswoman Mary Maushard.

For that fee, Talent Development supplies curricula, trains teachers and reorganizes the school into smaller career academies that offer students more individual help and intervention. "We've had some outside evaluation showing that [with the model] more students pass their ninth grade courses and are promoted to 10th grade," said Maushard, who cited several schools that made adequate yearly progress after a few years in the program. "In 10th grade, students have a lot better chance of making it to 12th grade."

Donald L. Hense, chairman of the Friendship Public Charter Schools, which enrolls 4,048 students on five campuses in the District, said he submitted a proposal to Rhee seeking to run three or four high schools.

His proposal calls for receiving total control of the schools. He said he would hire a principal, train teachers and introduce Friendship's technology theme and "early college" program, in which students simultaneously enroll in courses at the University of the District of Columbia.

Officials at the charter organization, which was founded by the Friendship House social services organization, have "extensive knowledge of working with people who are underprivileged," he said. "Our dream is to help kids east of the river who are locked in [bad schools] they can't get out of."

Staff writer Yolanda Woodlee contributed to this report.

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